© 2012 Kim

Istanbul,Turkey Day 6 – Kilim Shopping and Whirling Dervishes

Today, was a quieter day for us in Istanbul. We decided to head across the street from our hotel to purchase a Turkish Kilim. We had been there a couple times this week, but could not all agree on a style. We do know that it needed to be new and not antique due to the allergic reactions we all had to the antique ones. Kilims are a flat woven carpet or rug that can also be used as art on a wall. They are generally made of wool or cotton.

After an early dinner, we decided to learn about the Whirling Dervishes by watching a demonstration. This is an 800 year old tradition of Sufi music and prayer. The dance of the Whirling Dervishes is called the Sema or Sema Ceremony. The ceremony consists of 7 parts of music, prayers and readings of the Quran. Music is played on a Ney (flute like instrument), a vocalist, Duvar (a kettle style drum), Turkish style guitar called an Ud and often other traditional instruments. The traditional outfit worn by the Whirling Dervishes is: a conical headdress, black cloak, and a wide white skirt. The whirling is the climax of the Sema. When the Dervishes whirl, their right hand is raised to the sky “to allow the divine energy to enter in” while the left hand is also raised but tipped down “to let the energy return to the earth.” The wide white skirt symbolizes the “ego’s shroud”. The headdress stands for the “tomb of the ego.” The Ney (reed flute instrument) represents the “breath of God.” There are four salutes during the Sema ritual. They represent: truth through knowledge, the splendor of creation, total submission before God and coming to terms with destiny.




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